The EEF tested Maths Champions, a programme designed to develop maths teaching in early years settings by supporting a practitioner (the “Maths Champion”) to design and implement an action plan for improving maths teaching. The National Day Nurseries Association supports the Maths Champion with CPD, online resources, and one-to-one advice
We funded this programme because children’s early maths ability is correlated with attainment in maths and other subjects in later life. Maths is also an area that many early years settings struggle with, and where the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers is particularly large.
The security of the evaluation was weakened by the fact some pupils were not included in the final analysis because they were not tested when the intervention ended. However, there was some evidence that pupils involved in the programme made greater progress in maths. The intervention is relatively cheap in terms of the financial cost, but some participants felt the burden on staff time was a potential barrier to implementation
The EEF will use these findings to inform our current work on early years professional development and wider work in this sector
- Children who participated in Maths Champions made the equivalent of two additional months’ progress in maths, on average, compared to children in the comparison group. This result has low security and should be treated with caution.
- The impact of the intervention did not appear to be affected by pupils’ eligibility for the Early Years Pupil Premium.
- The trial found suggestive but inconclusive evidence that Maths Champions improved the quality of maths provision in participating nurseries.
- A third of nurseries taking part in Maths Champions were very or partially engaged with all core features of the intervention
- Most nurseries were positive about Maths Champions and its impact on settings and children. However, some also raised the burden on nursery staff time as a potential issue.